After spending six years expanding The Hobbit into a trilogy, Peter Jackson was due for some time away from Middle Earth. Heck, he was due some time away from making movies, period. A couple of years have gone by without hearing much about what he'd do next, other than some secret project with Steven Spielberg and some chatter about that 'Tintin' sequel that will probably never happen, but now we have more definitive word.
Jackson, along with wife Fran Walsh and screenwriter Philippa Boyens, will pen an adaptation of Mortal Engines, the first book in the popular franchise by Philip Reeve. Basically, the entire 'Hobbit' team is back and collaborating on this one, only it won't be Jackson behind the camera. While he's been shepherding this project for years, he will hand the directing reins over to longtime collaborator Christian Rivers, who will make his directorial debut. Rivers has been in the game for two decades, working as a storyboard artist on Jackson's Heavenly Creatures and many other films, moving up to a unit director on the 'Hobbit' movies. He also recently worked on David Lowery's Pete's Dragon remake.
Mortal Engines is set in a post-apocalyptic steampunk version of London, that in the wake of war has become a machine striving to survive on limited resources. The story is led by 15-year-old orphan Tom Natsworthy, who along with an Outlander named Hester, makes a discovery that could change the world.
Shooting begins next spring in New Zealand, so expect some casting news to drop soon.